March 4, 2002

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Gowrisankar and Arjun Vishnuvardhan, students of class 4 and 6 at Christ Nagar School, Thiruvananthapuram.


The first international prizes in Chess have been brought to Kerala by 9 year old Gowrisankar and his 11 year old brother Arjun Vishnuvardhan, students of class 4 and 6 at Christ Nagar School, Thiruvananthapuram.

At the Commonwealth Chess Tournament held at Scarborough, England, they together won 2 championships and 4 runner up positions.

Gowrisankar, won in the Under 10 category and became runner up in 3 other categories.  He thus set a National record as the male player to win the maximum number of medals for India from a single International tournament.

While other participants came to the tournament with their parents, coach, manager and laptop computer, for Arjun and Gowrisankar, their father Manoj was the only accompanying help and support.  But lack of resources did not hide the shine of their brilliance.  Among the persons they defeated in the tournament were some who had undergone one year training under Grand Master Chris Wald.

It was only in 1999 that Manoj and his wife Saritha recognized the talent of their children.  Seeing the parents play, both children picked up the game very fast.  In the same year itself, Gowrisankar became State Champion in Under 7 category.  Next year he became a National Champion in his category.

Similarly, within one year of learning the game, Arjun became State Champion in Under 9 and 8 categories.  He later became the youngest player to get FIDE rating at 91/2 years of age.

Daily the two spend around 7 to 8 hours for practice and analysis.  They use heavy books dealing with theory, which are meant for International Master-grade players, to learn the intricacies of the game. Academic activities come second only in their priorities.

Although State Government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 2 lakhs for the prodigies, their father Manoj will need more money to clear the outstanding debts and to prepare them for further international tournaments.

Sitting at their residence at 'Lakshmisree', Palace View Road, Poojappura, Thiruvananthapuram, Manoj says: “ I have no hesitation to ask help from anyone for their sake.  It isn’t because of my affection for my children.  It is rather, because I know their talents.”


Courtesy: C. Prakash, Kerala Kaumudi (October 7, 2001)

Contributed by: Administrator